Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin Stew

One of the first macrobiotic dishes I ever tried was Adzuki beans with Squash. I remember the first time I made this dish my family and our international students really didn’t like the look of this dish. They thought I was a bit crazy to put these ingredients together and refused to try it. I guess back then I thought it was a bit weird too, but we have all come along way since then. This time I decided to spice this dish up a bit with some additional ground spices and more veggies. It is a very hearty nourishing dish, which pairs well with steamed brown rice.

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Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin Stew (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

filtered water

1 cup dry adzuki beans

1″ x 1″  dry kombu

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small brown onion, sliced thin

1 garlic, diced

1 medium carrot, sliced thin in half moons

1 leek, white parts only, sliced thin in half moons

1 celery, sliced thin

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt

4 cups pumpkin, remove skin (optional) and chopped into large chunks (I used kent, but you can use kabocha or butternut pumpkin if you prefer)

1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu

Method:

1. Soak the adzuki beans overnight with filtered water and kombu.

2. Drain the beans and place the adzuki beans and kombu in a pot with some fresh filtered water. Bring to the boil, then cover on a low heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the beans are cooked. Then strain and leave to the side.

3. Heat olive oil in pot or large pan. Then add onion and garlic. Cook on a medium to low heat for 4-5 minutes until they have browned.

4. Add the carrot, leek and celery and cook for a further few minutes, until they begin to soften.

5. Add the ground cumin, ground sweet paprika, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and himalayan sea salt. Stir through the vegetables and cook for another minute or until the spices are fragrant.

6. Add pumpkin and a cup of water. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked.

7. Add the aduki beans and tamari. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve.

*Serves 4

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Korma Curry with Pumpkin and Peas

I miss ordering Korma Curry when I go out to Indian. I don’t order it any more as it is always made with cream. I usually opt for Vegetable Madras, that is made with coconut milk. This recipe uses coconut cream instead and ground cashews to give an extra rich flavour.  I used pumpkin and peas as they are quick to cook and give the curry a nice sweet taste.

What’s your favourite vegan Indian curry?

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Korma Curry with Pumpkin and Peas (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 teaspoon ginger, diced

3 tablespoons (or more) Korma Paste (I used Mudgeeraba South Indian Korma Paste)

1 tomato, diced

1 small green capsicum, sliced into thin strips

3 cups pumpkin cubed

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup cashews, ground into a powder

1 can coconut cream

sea salt to taste

brown basmati rice, steam to serve

Method:

1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot, then add the onions, garlic, ginger and korma paste. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions start to go translucent.

2. Add the tomatoes and green capsicum. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add some 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock if it starts to stick to the pot.

3. Add pumpkin and stir through. Then add 1 cup of water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then leave on a simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin starts to soften.

4. Add the baby green peas, cashew powder, coconut cream and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Bring to a light boil, the leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Season again if you need and serve with steamed brown basmati rice.

*Serves 4

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Below are some dishes I made from my favourite Cookbooks.

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Baked Peaches with Gooey Nut Crumble, Kind Mama, by Alicia Silverstone

Since I bought Kind Mama I’ve been excited to try Alicia’s Baked Peaches with Gooey Nut Crumble. It contains peaches topped with rolled oats cooked in brown rice syrup and water, raisins, black sesame seeds, chopped walnuts and chopped almonds. Although the recipe didn’t call for it I added some panela (evaporated cane sugar) on top to bake. Marco found it wasn’t sweet enough for him so I added some extra agave syrup when I served it. It was quite delicious for a healthy clean dessert.

Fall Harvest Vegetable Chowder, Forks Over Knives

Fall Harvest Vegetable Chowder, Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook

I really haven’t cooked much from my Forks Over Knives cookbook. I am usually missing on main ingredient, or don’t have enough of the ingredients the recipe calls for. I ended up halving the serving so that I could make this dish. It contains yellow onion, celery, carrots and vegetable stock, zucchini, yam/sweet potato, bay leaves, thyme and corn which are cooked till vegetables are softened. Then blended and heated through with some extra corn and spinach. It was very easy to make and satisfying on a cold night.

Winter Warm Risottos

Unless your living in Brisbane you probably don’t believe me that I am freezing right now. Winter in the sunshine state is has become bone chilling. To stay warm I’ve been drinking lots of herbal teas and warm meals of roasted vegetables, soups and risottos. These are a couple non traditional risotto’s that I have been enjoying over the past week.

I’ve never added quinoa to a risotto before. But I often cook a quinoa brown rice blend which is delicious and a pain to clean out of the rice cooker. Quinoa gives an extra protein kick to this risotto and doesn’t compromise the taste at all.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/4 kent or butternut pumpkin, sliced into thin pieces

1/2 large or 1 small head of garlic

olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup quinoa

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

2 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

sea salt and black pepper to taste

italian parsley to garnish (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven 200 degrees.

2. Place pumpkin and garlic head in an baking tray and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until both are soft.  Once both are cooked well place in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Keep it aside to add to the risotto.

3. Take a pot and fill with the vegetable stock and leave to boil, then place on a simmer.

4. In the meantime take another large pot and heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the onion. Cook till it softens

5. Add aborbio rice and quinoa to pot and let it toast for a few minutes.

6. Add the wine to the pot and cook until its been absorbed.

7. By this time the liquid stock should have boiled. Begin by ladling a spoon full at a time of the hot liquid stock to the rice and constantly stir. Once one spoon full has been absorbed into the rice, add another spoon full. Continue for  cooking for 15 mins or until the rice and quinoa is cooked

8. Add the mashed pumpkin and garlic. Stir through and then add baby spinach. Continue to stir until the baby spinach has wilted.

9. Take off the heat, then add the nutritional yeast and season with extra seasalt and black pepper. Serve with some chopped parsley.

*Serves 4

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Cauliflower has historically been one of my most hated vegetables from birth. My mum use to steam or microwave it with cheese and bechamel. I never liked cheese and always found cauliflower to be strange in texture and bland in taste. But I have a new love for cauliflower now. I love using it in Italian pasta dishes to coat pasta. It also tastes amazing in soups, on pizza, roasted and in a pie.  Here are some of my favourite cauliflower dishes that get the Marco tick of approval.

Pasta al Cavolfiore

Penne al Cavolfiore

Cauliflower Red Onion and Garlic Pizza

Roasted Cauliflower, Beets, Capsicum and Chickpeas with Tahini Sumac Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Steak

Broccoli & Cauliflower Pakoras

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Corn Soup

Cauliflower Cheezy Thyme Pie

For this Cauliflower Risotto I used both the stalks and florets of the cauliflower.  I diced the stalks and sautéed them with the onions and added the florets to the vegetable stock which I ladled to cook the risotto. I stole this idea from Jamie Oliver’s Cauliflower risotto (Risotto ai cavalfiori). Its a great way not to waste any of that cauliflower goodness.

Oh and by the way in case you haven’t tried Kale with Pine nuts and Raisins put it on your to do list. The bitter, sweet and nutty flavors make it one of my favourite side dishes and goes great on top of this Cauliflower Risotto.

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Cauliflower Risotto topped with Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins 

Cauliflower Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups arborio rice

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 medium cauliflower, dice stalks and chop the florets, keeping each separate

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

handful italian parsley leaves, diced

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

sea salt & black pepper

Method:

1.Take a pot and fill with the vegetable stock and cauliflower florets and leave to boil, then place on a simmer.

2. In the meantime take another large pot and heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the onion, garlic and diced cauliflower stalk. Cook for a couple of mintues.

3. Add aborbio rice and let it toast for a few minutes.

4. Add the wine to the pot and cook until its been absorbed.

5. By this time the liquid stock should have boiled. Begin by ladling a spoon full at a time of the hot liquid stock with the cauliflower florets to the rice. Stir constantly and mash the cauliflower florets as it cooks. Once one spoon full has been absorbed into the rice, add another spoon full. Continue for  cooking for 15 mins or until the rice  is cooked

6. Take off the heat, then add the nutritional yeast and italian parsley. Season with extra sea salt and black pepper.

7. Serve with Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins (recipe below)

*Serves 4

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Sautéed Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves, diced

bunch tuscan kale, chopped into ribbons

1-2 tablespoons golden raisins

1-2 tablespoons pinenuts

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Then add the garlic cook for about a minute

2. Add the kale, raisins and pine nuts. Saute until the kale has wilted.

3. Serve on top of the Cauliflower Risotto or as a side dish.

*Serves 2-4 as a side

For more risotto recipes check these out:

Sweet Potato Sage Risotto with Hazelnut ‘Parmesan’

Green Spring Risotto

Risotto alla zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)

Risotto ai funghi porcini (Mushroom Risotto)

Red Wine Barley & Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms & Spinach

Miso Glazed Roasted Butternut Pumpkin with Miso Ginger Satay Sauce

Since I have one foot out the door at the moment, I am trying to make use of all of our pantry ingredients. Tonight was buckwheat night. I decided to pair it with some roasted butternut pumpkin and lightly sautéed vegetables. To make it a bit more interesting I created a glaze and sauce with my nearly expired white miso. The sauce was so delicious. It tasted almost like satay, but without the peanuts. I’m so in love with Tahini at the moment. Its really delicious and full of calcium. Feeling really nice and light after such a wholesome dinner.

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Miso Glazed Roasted Butternut Pumpkin with Miso Ginger Satay Sauce (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients for Miso Glazed Roasted Pumpkin:

1/2 butternut pumpkin

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon crushed ginger

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1 tablespoon brown rice syrup

sea salt to taste

Ingredients for Miso Ginger Satay Sauce:

2 tablespoons unhulled tahini

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1 teaspoon crushed ginger

1 tablespoon brown rice syrup (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons pure sesame oil

1/4 filtered water

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Wash the butternut pumpkin well. Then cut the the pumpkin in half and then cut into thin slices.

3. In a bowl large bowl combine the coconut oil, ginger, white miso and rice syrup. Whisk with a fork until it is all blender well. Toss in the butternut pumpkin to coat.

4. Place the butternut pumpkin in a baking tray. Pour the extra marinate on top of the pumpkin.

5. Bake pumpkin for 30 mins or until softened and golden.

6. In the meantime prepare the Miso Ginger Satay Sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or a blender. Whisk with a fork or blend until it has blended together well.

7. Serve the pumpkin and sauce with some buckwheat or grain of your choice and some lightly sautéed or steamed vegetables.

*Serves 4

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Pumpkin Polenta with Caramelized Onion and Fennel with Cannellini Beans

I think I spoke to soon yesterday. The lovely humid weather I have described became cool and windy again today. At least I can still eat a cosy warm meal for dinner. This is the first time I have cooked with fennel. I was a little scared because it does have a really strong aniseed taste, but it becomes more muted the longer you cook it. I was going to add some fresh silver beet from my garden but it was all burned to a crisp from the sun. So I made some lightly steamed asparagus and broccolin instead.

Between making dinner tonight and juicing for tomorrow I think I used up all the vegetables in the fridge. Luckily its the Farmers Market in the city tomorrow. Past few of weeks I have been making a stop before or after work to pick up $2 bunches of kale, fresh ciabatta breads and all the fresh fruit and vege I can carry.

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Pumpkin Polenta (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 cups pumpkin (chopped)

1.5 cup filtered water (use steamer water)

2 tsp dry vegetable stock

2 cups oat/plant milk

1 cup polenta

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Steam the pumpkin till soft.

2. Place the pumpkin, steamer water and stock into a blender and blend till smooth.

3. In a large pot add the blended pumpkin and the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, then cook on a simmer until the polenta is cooked. This should take about 10 minutes.

*Serves 4

Caramelized Onion and Fennel with Cannellini Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 small onions, sliced

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 small red capsicum, chopped

1/2 cup dry shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup water

1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)

1 can cannellini beans

sea salt to taste

handful italian parsley (diced)

Method:

1. Melt coconut oil in a large pan, then add onion and fennel. Cook on a low heat for 5-7 minutes until it softens

2. Add the garlic and red capsicum and continue to cook  for another 5 minutes so that the onions and fennel begin to caramelize

3. Add the shiitake mushrooms, mushroom stock and sherry. Continue to cook till the water absorbs.

4. Add the cannellini beans and sea salt and heat through.

5. Stir through italian parsley and serve immediately with pumpkin polenta and some steamed greens.

*Serves 4

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Labor weekend recipe roundup

Happy Labor Day weekend fellow Queenslanders! The heat has finally arrived! This weekend has been hot and humid, but really breezy as well. I spent this long weekend with house hunting and spending time with the Mini Marco’s. Below are some of the meals I have prepared over the week.

I finally tried some recipes from Crazy Sexy Diet over the weekend. I adapted her Cornmeal Banana Walnut Pancakes. Since I didn’t have any banana or walnuts, I used dairy free choc chips, which of course the kids loved. I really loved the batter for this recipe. The polenta/cornmeal really gives the pancake a crunch. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to get any photos. Another recipe I tried was her Tofu Country Scramble. Marco and I really loved this. After a year on a plant based diet and I was yet to make a tofu scramble. This tasted really similar to a real egg scramble, but better.

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We also visited The Green Edge with our Living Social Lunch Vouchers. I got Spicy Seitan Burger and a Peanut Butter Milkshake. Marco got the Satay Tofu Burger and Chocolate Milkshake. It was all so good, but I ordered far to much.???????????????????????????????

While I was there I bought a couple of new vegan products. Sweet Freedom Natural Sweetener is made of apples, grapes and carob. Its a great substitute to maple syrup and much more cost effective. Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder is an organic dry vegan stock, which i really makes a really flavorsome stock and is the best one I have tried. It is also a lot more cost effective then buying liquid stock.

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Over the past couple of weeks when I haven’t felt like cooking I have been bring home takeaway from Vege Rama on my way home from work. For a less then $10 you can get the most delicious vegan thai, indian curries or even a lasagna, which is big enough  for two. Tonight I tried to recreate one of my favorite dishes from there.

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Easy Thai Pumpkin Curry (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, diced

1 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons thai red curry paste

1 small red capsicum, chopped

4 cups pumpkin, chopped

2 cups carrot, chopped

2 teaspoon vegan vegetable stock mixed with 2 cups of water

400ml coconut cream

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method:???????????????????????????????

1. Heat coconut oil in a wok, then add onion, ginger, garlic and curry paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until the oil separates from the curry paste. Then add 1/4 cup coconut cream and heat for few more minutes.???????????????????????????????

2. Add capsicum, pumpkin and carrot and saute for a 5 minutes.

3. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add coconut cream and soy sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is soften.

*Serve with brown rice or another other gluten free grain, or some wholemeal roti

Ever wondered how asparagus risotto gets that beautiful green color? I found this tip in an Italian cook book, to blend the stems of the asparagus spears with the liquid stock before cooking the risotto. I always find that I need more then a litre of stock, so added some of the steamer water to make use of the vitamins that get lost in the water. I haven’t made risotto in so long, so this was a nice treat.

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Green Spring Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus

1 bunches of broccolini

1 litre vegan chicken liquid stock

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used nutlex)

2 cups risotto rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 cup frozen peas

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cashew Parmesan/vegan parmesan (optional)

Method:

1. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus and the broccolini. Then cut into each spear into 4 parts.

2. Place the asparagus and broccolini in the steamer, except for the tops of them. Leave them to the side for later. Steam for 5 mins or until tender.???????????????????????????????

3. Place steam asparagus and broccolini in the blender with the liquid stock and blend until smooth. Then place on the stock to boil, so that it is ready for the risotto.

4. Heat butter in a large pot, then once its melted add the risotto rice. Toast for a few minutes.

5. Add white wine, onion and garlic to the risotto and allow it the wine to absorb into the rice.???????????????????????????????

6. Now begin adding boiled liquid stock, a ladle at a time. Allow it to absorb into the rice, until adding more. Stir the risotto continuously.

7. About 5 minutes before the risotto is ready, steam the tops of the asparagus, broccolini and the peas. If you need more boiling water for the risotto, you can used this steam water once your finished with it.

8. Take the risotto off the heat and add in the steamed asparagus, broccolini and peas, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

9. Serve with some home-made vegan parmesan.

*Serves 4 main serves, or 6 entree serves

I love eggplant, but I find I don’t it as much as I like because I need to use so much oil to cook it. This recipe is a bit lighter on the oil, but is just as flavorsome. Its also really easy to prepare and is gluten free.

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Stuffed Eggplants with Sun dried Tomatoes & Pine nuts (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 Italian eggplant

olive oil

2 small red onions

3 garlic cloves

10 sun dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons pine nuts

small handful of basil

2 tablespoons quinoa crumbs (or gluten free bread crumbs)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Slice eggplant in half, then use a pairing knife and a spoon to scoop out most of the flesh from the eggplant, just leave the shells.???????????????????????????????

3. Brush the eggplant shells with olive oil, then place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. In the meantime chop the eggplant flesh into small pieces and dice the red onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and basil.

5. Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until they start to soften.???????????????????????????????

6. Add the eggplant flesh to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, until its cooked. Add another tablespoon of olive or water if the eggplant is too dry.???????????????????????????????

7. Take off the heat and add the sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, quinoa crumbs and sea salt. Stir through till combined well.

8. Take out the eggplant shells from the oven and fill with the eggplant stuffing.

9. Bake the eggplants for 20 minutes.

* Serves 2 to 4 depending on the size of the serve.

What to do when you have heaps of canned pineapple leftover from pizza night? I made this delicious dressing for my work salads. Well it only turned out to be one work salad, since I accidentally poured most of this dressing on my kitchen bench.

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Pineapple Poppy seed Dressing (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup pineapple pieces

3/4 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

3 tablespoon olive oil/other mild oil

sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients, except the poppy seeds in a high speed blender.

2. Stir in the poppy seeds last and serve with salad.

*Makes 250 ml

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BBQ Tofu Bagel and Linguine with Kale in a Pumpkin Cashew Sauce

I’ve still been quite busy with uni. Yesterday I had my Italian exam, which I hope will be the last exam I ever sit. Not sure it went too well, so I am praying for a pass. All that’s left to go now is to hand my last assignment for history. By friday or maybe sunday I should be finished for good and I can’t wait! Then I can put more effort into cooking. My mum has been cooking more for us lately or I whip up something quick and simple for us.

Yesterday I got a chance before my exam to go back down to Fundies Wholefood Market for their Friends day. Once a month they offer 15% off, so I thought it was worth buying up on organic fruit and veggies. I recently saw the EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Although this data is from the USA, in Australia we do use a lot of the same pesticides. In fact I did an assignment a while back and I found that we use a lot of pesticides that are illegal in other countries.

In the last couple of years since I have been buying and growing more organic produce I really notice the difference in the taste. I notice that particularly conventional apples, zucchini, green beans, rocket and other leafy greens have a really bitter taste. Marco can taste it as well now and enjoys the taste of organic vegetables much better. Before I went to Europe we were regularly going to the Organic Markets on Sundays, but I have gotten slack since I got back. But this latest shoppers guide has really reminded me why I want to buy organic. We can’t afford or find everything on this list of the Dirty Dozen, but I am going to make a conscious effort to try to buy organic or avoid these ones. So you can see what I bought below. I got most of this stuff for juicing since its something we do every day.

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We also bought these Bagel Boys Sesame Bagels from Fundies. They looked too good to pass up. Coles and Woolies have just recently got bagels, but they are full of preservatives. These ones have completely natural ingredients.521441_10151054742632292_1369225709_n

When we were living in Milan we use to often go to The Bagel Factory for breakfast or lunch, when we were sick of pizza or pasta. We would chose a whole wheat bagel and usually get the Bagel con uova all”occhio di bue  filling, that was full of egg, ham, capsicum and onion. When I wasn’t as hungry I would order the  hummus filling instead. They were both really delicious. In case you didn’t realize I wasn’t vegan this time last year. But now I look back and I can’t believe I use to eat this bagel with all that egg and ham. I remember how good it tastes but I think I ate enough of them to live without them. Marco still has fond memories of these bagels.

Marco really wanted to recreate this breakfast bagel, but instead I made some veganised versions. Yesterday  since we were in a hurry, we quickly cooked up some Fry’s Traditional Burgers, prepared some fresh salad items and stuffed them into our bagels. These were so good! The Bagels were not as good as the fresh ones in Milan, but toasted they still good.

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Today I had a bit more time to think about lunch so I made us these BBQ Tofu Bagels. I still had heaps of homemade BBQ, that I used to make the Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Chloe’s Kitchen a while ago. You can find the recipe for both the sauce and the meat balls on Smith’s Vegan Kitchen blog. I marinated the tofu and the onions in this sauce then cooked them in a griddle pan. These bagels were even better then the day before. This tofu is also really good on its own.

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BBQ Tofu Bagel (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

200g organic firm tofu

1/2 homemade BBQ sauce (recipe above)

1 brown onion olive oil

3 bagels (wheat flour/gluten free)

1 tomato sliced

1 small carrot grated

1 small beetroot grated

1/2 cucumber sliced

3 lettuce leaves

1 handful of alfalfa???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Press the tofu, then slice it into 6 pieces.

2. Marinate the tofu and sliced onion in the BBQ sauce.

3. Heat a griddle pan with olive oil, then cook the tofu and onions for 7-10 mins. The onion should be softnened and the tofu should be heated through.

4.Slice the bagels so you have two halfs, then brush them with olive oil and toast them in the griddle pan.

5. Add some extra bbq sauce onto the bagels, then fill them with tofu, onion, sliced tomato, grated carrot, grated beetroot, sliced cucumber, alfalfa and lettuce.

*Serves 3

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Tonight Mum went out, I was nearly not going to cook, but I felt guilty having all this food in the fridge. I really wanted to try out this Red Russian Kale that I got from Fundies, so I came up with this. Marco loved this dish and was disappointed I didn’t make enough for seconds. Luckily I have some left over sauce so this will be lunch again tomorrow.

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Linguine with Kale in a Pumpkin Cashew Sauce (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cashew Sauce: 

3 cups chopped butternut pumpkin (or 2 cups mashed pumpkin)

3/4 cup cashew (raw or presoaked)

1 cup almond or other plant milk

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional for cheezy flavour)

sea salt to taste,

Remaining Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch red russian kale (or other type kale/spinach), roughly chopped

4 serves linguine/other long pasta

2-3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)

italian parsley (optional)

Method:

First Prepare the Sauce:???????????????????????????????

1. Steam the pumpkin in a large pot of water until it is soft. This should take about 20 mins. Then remove the pumpkin and mash it.

2. In the meantime if you haven’t soaked the cashews already, boil them for 10 mins.

3. In a processor, add the cashews and blend them until they are mostly broken down.

4. Add the pumpkin and almond milk and continue to blend. The cashews should be braking down now. Keep scraping down the sides of the bowl so there are no pieces of cashew that aren’t being blended.

5. While the processor is on add the dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and sea salt.

Now prepare the rest:

6. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

7. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Then add the kale, sea salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes or until it begins to wilt.

8. Add the pumpkin cashew sauce to the pan and heat through.

9. Serve sauce ontop of hot pasta and garnish with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and italian parsley.

*Serves 4

Warm Buckwheat and Lentil Salad with Pumpkin and Broccolini

Hi guys hope you all had a good weekend. I can’t believe how fast its gone. I’ve been juicing away every day with my favorite new addition. I just love watching it do its magic  Here is a couple of the juices I prepared recently. The first one is Beetroot, Pear, Kale and Cucumber. I also made some Sushi with honey soy tofu, avocado and cucumber. The next one is rockmelon, lemon and ginger. That one was a bit tangy, but still very good.

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Last night we popped into the vegan restaurant Banana Lounge for some dessert. I also got a sticky beak at their new menu, which is the same for lunch and dinner. I have heard mixed reviews about their food, but I would like to check it out soon. I have only been to the vegan buffet breakfast. On their new menu they have nachos, burritos, mexican rice bowl and raw pizza etc. I was the only one that order dessert. I got the Raw Choc, Date & Pistachio Brownies and the Mexican Chili Hot Chocolate. Both were really delicious! They really know how to make a good vegan dessert.

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Tonight I wanted to make something healthy, but hearty. Its so cold here at the moment, so we need something a bit heavier. This dish just keep evolving till I got hungry enough to stop adding things. I brought a whole lot of sprouts today so I am going to try add them to more of my meals for extra nutrients. I am trying to get Marco into sprouts. He didn’t mind a sprinkle of these snow pea sprouts, but they aren’t his favorite thing.

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Warm Buckwheat & Lentil Salad with Pumpkin & Broccolini, Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup raw buckwheat

900 g kent or butternut pumpkin

olive oil

2 bunches of broccolini

sea salt to taste

snow pea sprouts, washed, roughly chopped

Ingredients Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing:

1 whole garlic head

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup italian parsley

1 tablespoon tahini (unhulled)

sea salt to taste

Ingredients Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Place lentils in pot with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 30-40 mins or until lentils are cooked. Then strain any water and leave to cool.

3. Place buckwheat in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to the boi, then leave to simmer for 30 mins or until the buckwheat are cooked. Then leave to cool

4. In the meantime remove the seeds and skin from the pumpkin and slice into flat bite size pieces.

5. Place pumpkin pieces and a whole garlic in a bowl and toss through 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then place all on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool.

6. Clean the pumpkin seeds then combine in a bowl with olive oil, cumin, cayenne and sea salt. Then place on a tray and roast for 5 mins or until cooked. Leave to the side for later.???????????????????????????????

7. Peel the whole roasted garlic and place in the processor.

8. Add olive oil, lemon juice, water, cumin and cayenne and whiz until combined.

9. Then add tahini, italian parsley and sea salt. Whiz until combined. Add more sea salt if you need.

10. Roughly chop the broccolini, then saute in a pan with olive oil until tender.

11. In the mean time, combine the lentils, buckwheat and pumpkin in a large bowl. Then top with the dress, stir through.

12. Add the broccolini to the salad and stir through.

13. Serve the warm salad, topped with snow pea sprouts and roasted spicy pumpkin seeds.

*Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side.

For dessert I made these Gluten free Yoga Chocolate Cupcakes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. You can find the recipe here. Mum called them disgustingly delicious lol. She couldn’t believe how good this vegan cupcakes are. They are really crunchy on the top and soft and moist on the inside. Instead of making 34 mini cupcakes, I made 12. This also means I needed half the chocolate icing.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Spring Vegetables

Happy Easter Sunday everyone! It doesn’t really feel like Easter for me. Without chocolate or gifts its just another weekend. We use to celebrate by having a picnic and gorging on chocolate, but this year everyone’s been busy. In a way I am happy I didn’t get any unwanted chocolate. No one ever buys me dairy free chocolate. I don’t know if I should just be grateful that people think to give me something or I should be annoyed that they know I can’t eat it and give it to me anyway. Marco usually eats any dairy gifts I get so he’s happy either way.

Since Marco has had a couple of days off with me, we finally watched the new documentary Hungry for Change (trailer). If you haven’t seen it, I really recommend trying to get a copy and taking the time to watch it. If you know me personally I would be happy to give you a copy. According to their Facebook page “HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don’t want you to know about; deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more.” If you need some guidance or a refresher to get you back in the right direction it is really motivational. I really needed a refresher to get back into a routine of increasing my fruit and leafy green vegetable intake and exercising more. Marco needed a reminder to stop eating so much sugar and consider eating more fruit and vegetables.

???????????????????????????????So after watching this doc, Marco and I decided we need to start juicing. I haven’t pulled out my juicer for over a year. I originally got it to make cocktails, when I use to love to drink, then I started using it to make juices to loose weight. Now I really want to juice so I can get more vegetables and fruit into my diet for overall wellness. It really doesn’t take long to do, so I am making a commitment to start juicing more. Its back on my counter top now, so no more excuses.

This morning I made a delicious juice for us, made of watermelon, apple, carrot, lime and ginger. It was so refreshing. Still it didn’t have a lot of vegetables, but I am going to work us up to it. I felt really great after and didn’t need my usually morning coffee. In fact I am trying to cut down on coffee, if not for the sake of my insides, but for the sake of my teeth. I noticed about a months back I didn’t have coffee for a few days and my teeth were looking so much whiter. So it was incentive to consider cutting back. I don’t drink a lot of coffee, only one flat white once day, but I shouldn’t be relying on that boost. I should be getting from enough sleep, more nutrients and not forgetting to take my pyroluria medication.

Although it was raining all day we still managed to get some exercise  We went to Forest Lake to walk around the lake. Even though it rained the whole time it was really worth getting out of the house. After that we were quite hungry, so I made this comfort dinner. Marco begged me not to add in the vegetables to the pumpkin ‘cheese’ sauce, since he loved it so much, but in the end he was happy he ate them together, rather than apart. This is a great dish to sneak in some vegetables for your kids or veggie hating partners. It is also low fat and gluten free. I also baked the seeds from the pumpkin for some extra Vitamin E. For more info on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds check out WHFoods.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Spring Vegetable (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500g thinly sliced pumpkin (I use kent and butternut)

4 serves of gluten free macaroni or other short pasta

olive oil

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used nutlex)

1 tablespoon corn flour (or arrowoot flour)

2.5 cups plant milk (oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric

8 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt & pepper to taste

1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups baby spinach

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place slices of pumpkin in a tray and toss with olive oil. Cook pumpkin for 30 mins or until soft.???????????????????????????????

2. In the meantime prepare the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large pan on low heat. While it is melting combine the almond milk and corn flour and whisk. Then add the plant milk to the pan with the melted butter.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the dijon mustard, garlic powder, tumeric and whisk until it thickens.

4. Add the nutitional yeast, salt and pepper and whisk.

5. Cook the macroni according to packet directions.

6. Add the roasted pumpkin to the cheese sauce. Use the whisk or potato masher to blend it through. Alternativly you could put it in the processor if you want the sauce to be smoother.???????????????????????????????

7. Heat another pan with olive oil, then saute the broccoli and frozen peas until tender.

8. Add the broccoli, peas and spinach to the cheese sauce. Heat through until the spinach has wilted.

9. Stir through the macaroni then serve.

*Serves 4

*I garnished mine with pumpkin seeds from the butternut & kent pumpkin. Just coat in canola/olive oil, salt & pepper and bake for 5 mins or until golden. Also makes a great snack.

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Pumpkin Soup Mantua Style, Broccoli Salad; Mushroom, Walnut and Spinach Pesto Spelt Pizza

I have heard about liquid smoke from other blogs for a while, but its not something that is easy to find in Brisbane. I really miss smokey flavour that cured meats bring to soups and stews. I have noticed in a few Italian recipes and many Serbian ones, that smoked meats or bones are often added to dishes for flavor and then removed before serving. However, the food wouldn’t really be vegan if I added them just for that reason.The only place I have seen liquid smoke is the Green Edge Vegan Supermarket, as it is imported from America. So I finally remembered to buy some a couple of days ago before they close for their move.

First thing I want to try with the liquid smoke was this hearty pumpkin soup from Mantova, Italy. I found this recipe in my mums old recipe book, Giuliano Bugiallis Foods of Italy. According to Bugiallis, this soup is famous in Mantova/Mantua. There are many variations of this soup, although most use milk. This version with the broth instead and is made in nearby towns.

I adapted the recipe slightly, adding liquid smoke instead of prosciutto and using vegan butter and vegan beef stock. The  liquid smoke really gave that smokey taste that cured meats bring to soups. Together with the ‘beef’ stock this soup tasted fantastic. Its was unlike any pumpkin soup I have ever had before. I couldn’t stop eating it and the rest of the family loved it. They couldn’t figure out what was in it and when I told them they were surprised. Marco especially loved that smokey flavor, as that is what he has grown up on.  If you can’t get hold of liquid smoke, I still recommend trying pumpkin soup with ‘beef’ stock for more heartier flavor.

Another recipe I found in Giuliano Bugiallis Foods of Italy was Broccoli in insalata. I haven’t made a salad like this before, but it was quite easy to put together. Suprisingly Marco really liked it. I didn’t mind it either. Broccoli and lemon go really well together.

The Pizza is adapted from In Vegetables We Trust, Rocket pesto cookie sheet pizza. I didn’t have any rocket or pine nuts left, so I tried it with spinach and walnuts, which worked really well together. I also used spelt flour, so it would be more nutritious. If you haven’t checked out In Vegetables We Trust, then you should! There are so many delicious dishes you wouldn’t know are vegan by looking at the photos.

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Minestra di zucca alla mantovana (Pumpkin Soup Mantua Style) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

800-900g pumpkin

8 tablespoons nutlex/vegan butter

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

3 cups vegan beef liquid stock (I used Massel)

sea salt & black pepper to taste

basil/oregano leaves to serve (optional)

Method:

1. Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin. Cut it into small pieces. Then place it in a bowl with cold water for 1/2 hour.???????????????????????????????

2. Melt nutlex in a large heavy based pot over a low heat. Once it has completely melted add pumpkin pieces and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Add vegan beef stock, then cover it again and simmer for 15 mins or until pumpkin is very soft.

4. Take the pot of the heat and puree it. Then adjust seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. Cook for a further 10 mins then serve.

*Serve soup topped with a few basil leaves. I didn’t have so I used oregano leaves.

*Serves 6

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Broccoli in insalata (Broccoli Salad) (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch of broccoli

2 small carrots

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice from 2 lemons

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Soak broccoli in cold water for 1/2 hour.

2. Bring a pot of cold water to the boil. Meanwhile separate the florets from the broccoli stems and cut into bite size pieces.

3. Place broccoli stems in boiling water and cook for 5 mins.

4. Then add the brocolli florets and cook for a further 4 mins.

5. Remove all the broccoli and place into cold water for 10 mins.

6. Peel and grate the carrots then place in a bowl with cold iced water and leave for 5 mins.

7. Combine the oil, lemon juice, chili flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

8. Strain the broccoli and carrots. Then combine half of both into a bowl, add half of the dressing. Then add the rest of the vegetables and dressing, then serve.

*Serves 4 as a side dish

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Mushroom, Walnut and Spinach Pesto Spelt Pizza (vegan, soy free)

Ingredients for pizza base:

1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour

1 cup tipo 00 flour

2 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

1 teaspoon raw sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for pizza topping:

2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

sea salt & black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons chopped walnuts

6 medium/10 small mushrooms sliced

Method:

1. Combine the spelt and 00 tipo flour in a bowl.

2. Combine the warm water, yeast, salt and suger. Leave for 5 mins or until it has bubbled.

3. Add olive oil and yeast water mixture to the flour.

4. On a floury board knead the dough for 10 mins. Then leave for at least 1 hour in a warm spot.

5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place the spinach leaves, garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper in the processor. Process until it is all ground together.???????????????????????????????

6. Stir in the walnuts then set to the side.

7. Once dough is read, spread it onto a rectangular pizza pan.

8. Saute the sliced mushrooms with a little bit of oil in a pan for a few minutes.

9. Lather the pesto onto the pizza base, then top with mushrooms. Cook in the oven for 20 mins, then slice and serve.

*Makes 1 pizza base, cut into 12 smal slices

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